Picnics are the best.
But the problem with picnics is that once you're on one, you're sort of...stuck. You're all set up with a big blanket and lots and lots of stuff, you're theoretically in the middle of a large expanse of grass or sand or some other convenience store-free locale...and if you forgot anything...
Below, my best tips on how to make your next picnic delicious, guava-flavored-wine-soaked, and generally a blast.
Dogs, first and foremost.
- A bigger-than-you-think-you'll-need blanket (the more room you have to spread out, the better). Bonus points if your blanket is bright and adorable, like this one from Target.
- Lots of bottled water
- Extra cups, plates and napkins
- Plastic utensils, if you're serving anything that can't be eaten with your hands
- Trash bags
- Moist towelettes or wipes (especially if dogs and/or children are involved)
- Cooler with ice packs
- Something to read or do in the downtime (I think picnics are a perfect moment for a) frisbee and b) US Weekly)
- An awesome wine tote for your awesome sangria (or awesome boxed wine)
BRIE & APPLE SANDWICH
1. Layer Brie (shoot for the best quality you can afford and load it on) and thinly sliced green apple on a baguette. You can also add a few slices of turkey, if you like.
2. Drizzle with a little honey or honey mustard.
WATERMELON, TOMATO & BASIL SALAD (Remember to bring plastic utensils)
In a large bowl, combine 2 cups watermelon chunks, 2 sliced tomatoes (1 red, 1 yellow is pretty), 1/3 cup crumbled feta, and a big handful of roughly chopped basil. Toss with olive oil and sea salt.
CHIPS (Pack them in air-filled resealable bags to prevent crushing)
SOMETHING CHOCOLATE THAT WILL NOT MELT (I like banana-chocolate bread pudding from a store, but cookies work, too)
In a large pitcher, combine 1 bottle relatively cheap, preferably vaguely sparkly white wine (I use Vinho Verde, about $6.99 and even cheaper at Trader Joe’s), 3/4 cup guava juice, 3/4 cup orange juice, 1 thinly sliced lemon, 1 thinly sliced lime, 1 tsp lemon zest, and 1/2 tsp lime zest, and let sit overnight in refrigerator.
Just before serving, add a bunch of sliced strawberries and a splash of club soda (if desired) to each serving. Garnish with a lemon wheel or halved strawberry.
A few things to remember...
- If all the ice in the cooler has melted when you get home, the leftovers probably aren't safe to save and re-serve
- Use multipurpose utensils (sporks!) to save space
- Extra munchies are always welcome: throw some fun additions like mixed nuts, olives, brownies, or mixed veggies with dip into your picnic basket